A newlywed Bronx couple’s plan to join ISIS by traveling to the Middle East aboard a cargo ship was thwarted by before they could even leave port, prosecutors said Thursday.
James (Abdullah) Bradley, 20, fantasized about attacking soldiers at West Point, and distributed pro-ISIS material on social media, federal prosecutors allege.
But Bradley’s big plans were cut short Monday when he and his bride of two months, Arwa Muthana, 29, of Alabama, were arrested in Newark just before they hoped to board a ship to start their journey to Yemen, the feds said.
Bradley’s terrorist sympathies date back to at least 2019, when he and another man talked about traveling to Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taliban, according to a federal complaint.
The other man tried to go through with the plan, but was arrested at Kennedy International Airport that July.
Bradley decided to stay home because he was iffy about ISIS’ motives, say prosecutors.
By May 2020, his thinking had come around — but unbeknownst to him, an undercover NYPD officer had gained his confidence, the complaint says.
Over the next few months, he shared with the NYPD officer speeches from ISIS leaders gruesome videos of prisoners and soldiers being shot in the head, and talked about how he and Muthana wanted to ambush a group of ROTC cadets at a university in New York.
He and the officer also talked travel plans to Yemen and Pakistan, and when the cop asked him who he’d join up with, he said, “ISIS, bro.”
Bradley feared being arrested by the FBI at his home, and told the undercover he would ”shut the door, go nuts, grab a knife and do something,” according to the complaint.
“Bro… if I get into it and I get them, and they get me, then I’m martyred,” he allegedly told the officer.
Bradley and Muthana wed in Muthana in January in an Islamic ceremony, and in March he visited her in Alabama, prosecutors allege. From there, they returned to New York to start planning for their ill-fated trip to the Middle East.
Bradley paid another undercover cop $1,000 to get a spot on the cargo ship.
Bradley and Muthana were each charged with attempting to provide support to a foreign terrorist organization and conspiring to provide support to a foreign terrorist organization. Each count carries a possible 20 year maximum sentence.
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